Colors make our world beautiful in many ways – in nature, food, clothing, crayons – the list is endless. It’s important to emphasize colors in our daily lives, as they stimulate a child’s imagination and delight her sense of sight.
We, as adults, typically talk about colors every day, and for this reason, children begin to learn the names of many colors. However, they may not know which color goes to which name. You can help children learn colors by asking them the color of things. Start with single colors with very young children, and then add more in time. Observation plus language equals learning.
Simple activities are designed to help children become aware of the many colors that surround them. Here are a few ways to teach colors to children.
Use the seasons to help teach your child about colors – green in spring, white in winter, orange in fall and so on.
The use of toy blocks, cards, paints and crayons can help your child develop color skills and learn to name them.
Choose a day of the week and make it “color day.” Make projects, wear clothing and read books about that color. Prepare edibles this day in your chosen color. For example, on “orange day,” prepare orange wedges, Goldfish crackers and cheddar cheese cubes. A “yellow day” feast could consist of pineapple chunks, bananas and Golden Delicious apples. The kids love this concept!
Hot glue crayons to a strip of tag board. Provide a second set of crayons and invite children to match the colors.
Read a good book involving colors. Some favorites are: Is It Red? Is It Yellow? Is It Blue? by Tana Hoban, The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle, Colors (Slide ‘n’ Seek) by Chuck Murphy and Colors by Anne Geddes.
Take a colors walk. Make a small booklet containing primary and secondary colors by stapling together construction paper. Take a neighborhood stroll and look for items that correspond with the colors. List on the appropriate page what you see and maybe draw a quick picture. Think about taking pictures – print out digital photos to attach to the pages. After returning home, help your child read from his booklet and discuss the colors all around.
Play a color-match game. Pick up free paint chip cards, in various colors, from your local paint store. At home, cut each rectangular chip apart. Spread these squares across the table and have the kids match each hue.
Make colorful play dough
- Combine 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoons cream of tartar and 1/2 cup salt in a saucepan.
- Slowly stir in these liquid ingredients: 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and a few drops of food color (your choice of color).
- Stir and cook over medium heat for about three minutes or until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pot.
- Allow to cool.
- Invite children to mold and shape creations. When they are finished, store this play dough in an airtight plastic container until ready to use again.
NOTE: This is pliable clay, not intended for baking or eating.
This post was originally published in February 2014 and has been updated.